The Energy 202: ‘Zombie’ arguments made by Trump officers at Bonn local weather convention



On Monday, White House vitality coverage adviser George David Banks attends an occasion titled “The Role of Cleaner and More Efficient Fossil Fuels and Nuclear Power in Climate Mitigation” on the United Nations’s local weather change convention in Bonn, Germany. (Photo by Lukas Schulze/Getty Images)

At the United Nations COP23 local weather convention, underway this week in Germany, one of the vital anticipated occasions was hosted by a U.S. delegation despatched by one of the vital reviled figures amongst attendees — President Trump.

During a Monday discuss that attracted scores of protesters, the U.S. delegation supplied a message on local weather and vitality that George David Banks, Trump’s lead local weather adviser, insisted could be a breath of contemporary air for sometimes insular local weather conferences.

“This panel is controversial only if we chose to bury our heads in the sand,” Banks instructed the gang in Bonn, per The New York Times.

The actuality, attendees stated, is that the Trump crew is recycling previous arguments utilized by American politicians towards previous international warming agreements. Based on the response, such arguments do not appear  significantly suited to this political and financial second globally. Quite a bit has modified since these arguments had been superior — President Obama negotiated the Paris local weather accord through which all nations aside from the United States promise to chop international emissions; and there’s a good stronger scientific consensus that international warming is prompted largely by people.

Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, known as the U.S. speaking factors “zombie arguments from the 1990s and 2000s.”

For instance, throughout that lone official occasion hosted by the United States in Bonn — a discussion board selling coal and nuclear vitality as options to decreasing international warming — Banks stated that low cost fossil-fuel vitality is critical to badist modernize creating nations and carry folks out of poverty.

“We need to lift 1 billion-plus people out of energy poverty,” Banks stated.

It’s an argument Republican administrations have made earlier than. As President George W. Bush stated in Kyoto in 2005, after scuttling U.S. participation within the local weather pact brokered in that Japanese metropolis: “The best way to create opportunity and alleviate poverty is through economic growth. As their economies grow, they are using more energy.”

“Energy poverty,” or lack of entry to electrical energy in poor components of the world, is an actual downside. Indeed, the poorest nations in Africa and Asia proceed to carry coal vegetation on-line to satisfy the vitality wants of populations rising in measurement and wealth.

Here’s the context: As they face a harder time competing with pure gasoline and renewables within the developed world, coal producers are pitching their product as a manner of affordably powering much less lucky nations. President Trump has additionally made bringing again coal a serious plank of his “energy dominance” agenda.

But the badociated fee per kilowatt of photo voltaic and wind vitality has plummeted for the reason that final time a Republican sat within the White House — making them at occasions extra viable vitality choices within the creating world, particularly for rural communities unconnected to the ability grid.

“That’s such a bogus argument,” Alden Meyer, director of technique and coverage for the Union of Concerned Scientists, stated in a cellphone interview from Bonn of the coal push. “It’s amazing that the White House is recycling it. The cost of renewables has fallen dramatically over the last five to 10 years.”

Pollution can be an enormous downside for creating international locations that depend on fossil fuels to energy their economies (see the most recent in India).The burden of respiratory of low-quality air close to fossil-fuel energy vegetation, in addition to the varied well being prices of local weather change, disproportionately falls on low-income folks —  each at house and overseas. For instance, a brand new evaluation printed Tuesday by the Clean Air Task Force and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) discovered that poor, black Americans are disproportionately uncovered to grease and gasoline air pollution.

Protestors disturb the coal and nuclear occasion titled with singing. (Photo by Lukas Schulze/Getty Images)

Banks additionally insisted that wealthy and poor international locations not be held to totally different requirements underneath any local weather settlement.

“We want to make sure that we do what we can to avoid bifurcation,” Banks instructed reporters after the occasion, in line with the information website Climate Home. “Bifurcation is a major flaw in the framework convention and we certainly don’t want to see it in the Paris Aagreement. So, I would say that’s probably the number one priority.”

Indeed, the Senate made that argument — 20 years in the past.

In 1997, the Senate, which is answerable for ratifying treaties, handed a decision, 95-to-Zero, saying the United States should not signal on to any local weather settlement requiring the discount of greenhouse-gas emissions until creating international locations are required to curb emissions too. The Kyoto treaty created totally different courses of nations — some with binding emissions targets and others with out them.

So, the Obama administration knew it needed to persuade practically each signatory of the Paris local weather accord to cut back emissions (not simply wealthy nations). It did so by making discount targets voluntary. The Paris accord allowed China and India, two of the most important air pollution emitters, agreed to emissions targets in contrast to underneath the Kyoto settlement.

“The reality is that Paris clearly moved away from a bifurcated approach,” stated David Waskow, director of the World Resources Institute’s International Climate Initiative, additionally in Bonn. “That was the point of Paris.”

But the Trump administration — criticized for ignoring the perfect local weather science, regardless of not too long ago publishing the National Climate Assessment that did say people are largely answerable for local weather change — appears to be ignoring the political second. It stays to be seen how efficient its technique can be as the remainder of the world strikes forward of us.

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Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke along with his canine Ragnar in his workplace in Washington. (Jo Mount/The Washington Post)

— What do a taxidermied bison named “Rosie,” a bronze bust of Teddy Roosevelt and a $1,749 leather-based sofa have in widespread? They’ve all discovered a house within the workplace of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. A brand new report from HuffPost’s Chris D’Angelo outlines the slew of modifications that Zinke made upon taking workplace. Per week after taking the job, he requested about redesigning the company’s flag, which has “gone largely unchanged for a century,” D’Angelo writes. He revived an arcane navy ritual concerning the division’s flag: A safety staffer hoists the banner each time Zinke enters Interior’s headquarters, as The Post’s Lisa Rein reported final month. When Zinke leaves for the day, the flag comes down.

Inside Zinke’s workplace are different trappings requested by the secretary, emails reveal.

“A large stuffed grizzly will arrive at [main Interior building] today at approximately noon,” Daniel Jorjani, who was appointed in May to the place of principal deputy solicitor, wrote to seven company workers March 21, per HuffPost. “If possible, please make sure it clears security and is taken to the Secretary’s office. He would like it placed in the corner where his collection of Navy SEAL knives are currently located. He would like that table moved to the other side of the room, next to where the doors lead out of his office into the main corridor.”

Other decor objects embody the heads of a bison and elk, a $1,749 leather-based sofa from California that included “white-glove delivery service,” a stuffed bobcat and a bronze bust and black-and-white portrait of his presidential hero, Teddy Roosevelt.

“You can’t make this stuff up,” Joe Nbadar, director of Interior’s Office of Facilities and Administrative Services, wrote in an electronic mail to a number of division workers concerning the stuffed bobcat.

Zinke himself has shared photos of a number of of these things on Twitter:

Hey @UMGRIZZLIES what ought to I title the #grizz?

— Secretary Ryan Zinke (@SecretaryZinke) March 22, 2017

Not to be outdone by the #Griz the @msubobcats have a spot in my workplace too. Appreciate the piece from @USFWS

— Secretary Ryan Zinke (@SecretaryZinke) March 27, 2017

Thx 2 @SalenaZito for taking time to speak about @POTUS & my imaginative and prescient for expanded entry to public lands @dcexaminer

— Secretary Ryan Zinke (@SecretaryZinke) April four, 2017

Visitors stroll previous a sphere that includes flags of nations of the world displayed on the pavillion of India on November eight, 2017 through the COP23 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany. (AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZPATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images)

— More on the United States in Bonn: The State Department stated its third-ranking diplomat can now not take part within the local weather convention in Germany. Tom Shannon, the underneath secretary of state for political affairs, is not going to attend due to a household emergency — Acting Assistant Secretary for Oceans, International, Environmental and Scientific Affairs Judith Garber will lead the delegation as an alternative, per the Associated Press.

Axios’s Amy Harder identified the optics of the swap are unhealthy for the administration. “The Trump administration has stated it is going to withdraw America from the Paris deal and would not acknowledge local weather change is an issue in want of addressing. This shuffle makes it seem just like the administration — the politically appointed folks versus the profession employees — is split over how one can place itself on the convention.”

Speaking Interior: A gaggle of former Interior Department officers despatched a letter to members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee urging towards drilling within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which they name “a crown jewel amongst America’s public lands.”

“Although we support responsible energy development and energy security for our nation, oil exploration and development risks significant damage to this national, cultural and ecological treasure, and it is currently a needless risk,” they wrote. “Simply put, we don’t need to develop the Arctic Refuge – one of the costliest, and riskiest places to develop energy resources – to promote American energy security.”

The letter challenges estimates that drilling within the ANWR would increase $1 billion to offset the prices of tax cuts, noting that “revenues may only amount to millions, misleading American taxpayers.”

The letter is signed by Nathaniel Reed, badistant secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks underneath President Richard M. Nixon; Lyle Laverty, badistant secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks underneath President George W. Bush; Donald Barry, badistant secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks underneath President Bill Clinton; Jamie Rappaport Clark, Fish and Wildlife Service director underneath Clinton; Steve Williams, Fish and Wildlife Service director underneath President George W. Bush; and Daniel M. Ashe, Fish and Wildlife Service director underneath President Barack Obama.

The letter was despatched forward of Wednesday’s scheduled markup of laws from Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) that will permit for oil and gasoline drilling in long-contested refuge.

“The public has a proper to see them”: Joel Clement, the scientist and local weather coverage skilled who resigned from the Interior Department after he was rebadigned to a place unrelated to his experience has filed a lawsuit to get the skinn on the switch of a number of of his former colleagues, E&E News reported Tuesday.

“We know these paperwork exist and we all know the general public has a proper to see them, however Secretary Zinke and his employees are decided to work in secret and take the ‘public’ out of public service,” Clement stated in a press release, per the report.

Clement was rebadigned to an accounting place from his function as director of the Office of Policy Analysis shortly after publicly reporting on how local weather change impacts Native Alaskan communities.

Clement filed a Freedom of Information Act request in September to acquire varied paperwork on senior government service transfers earlier than submitting one other request in October. The lawsuit claims that “to date, [the Interior Department] has not produced a single record” and calls on the company to “conduct a search reasonably calculated to uncover all records responsive to Plaintiff’s FOIA requests.”

“Real failure of due diligence”: A senior Bureau of Indian Affairs official quietly resigned Monday after the division’s inside watchdog issued a report that criticized the mortgage program he oversaw, The Post’s Juliet Eilperin studies. Before becoming a member of the administration, Gavin Clarkson labored as a advisor for the tribes that acquired loans underneath this system he would later run within the Interior Department. One such mortgage was a controversial $22.5 million mortgage for the Lower Sioux Brule tribe that helped finance the acquisition of a brokerage agency that finally went underneath, Eilperin writes. The company is being sued over refusing to ensure the $20 million steadiness on that very same mortgage.

Arvind Ganesan, head of the Human Rights Watch’s enterprise of human rights division, wrote a 2015 report about Clarkson’s work with the tribe, and instructed Eilperin that Clarkson’s rent was a “actual failure of due diligence. He’s being employed at a time when the BIA is being sued for tens of millions of for a deal he organized,” including “It’s not as if a Google search wouldn’t have worked.”

— Monuments replace: Zinke instructed the Salt Lake Tribune that he thinks President Trump will take his advice to trim Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument however that the protected space will nonetheless stay bigger than Zion and Bryce nationwide parks mixed. That means Bears Ears, which Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert (R) requested be trimmed to 120,000 acres, will nonetheless be greater than 180,000 acres. Zion is 147,000 acres and Bryce is about 36,000 acres, per the Tribune. 

— The newest developments on Puerto Rico:

  • Water on the island would be the most contaminated within the United States, a Republican congressman stated throughout a House Energy and Commerce Committee listening to on Tuesday. “Residents across the island are still without power and a reliable source of drinking water,” stated Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), per the Washington Examiner. “Many are drinking potentially contaminated water because water purification systems have largely failed because of the storm.”
  • Ricardo Ramos, government director of vitality grid operator PREPA, defended the controversial determination to rent the small Montana-based firm Whitefish Energy, to work on repairing the grid. “In retrospect, there are some steps in our contracting process with Whitefish that we could have done better,” Ramos stated earlier than the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday, per the Examiner. “I chose to contract with Whitefish because my priority was securing the immediate badistance that we needed to begin restoring power as quickly as possible to our most critical customers.” 
    Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló testified earlier than lawmakers after calling for $94 billion to rebuild the island. House Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Rob Bishop (R-Utah) known as the determine “unprecedented,” per BuzzFeed: “You’re asking for an unprecedented $94 billion. That’s a lot of money. That’s not going to happen unless people are going to see some changes in the way cooperation is made, and the way that money’s going to be spent.”
  • Rosselló prompt rising the use of wind and solar energy to supply as much as 25 % of the island’s electrical energy, Bloomberg studies. “We certainly see a collaboration with the private sector,” Rosselló stated. Last month, Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk tweeted the would work with the native authorities to rebuild the island’s electrical grid. 

  • The Post’s Justin Wm. Moyer tells the story of the Olivieri household, a few of whom at the moment are taking refuge in Virginia following Maria. They are among the many estimated 100,000 that fled the island after the storm. “Enid Olivieri stayed — and endured Hurricane Maria,” Moyer writes. “It quickly became clear that clean drinking water wouldn’t last and electricity wasn’t consistent enough to power the breathing machine she uses to battle sleep apnea. The family decided she should lead their elders on a sojourn from San Juan to Virginia in what Maria Olivieri called a ‘parade of wheelchairs.’”


—  “I was shocked”: NASA scientists have captured close-up photos of a behemoth iceberg — one of many largest each recorded when it indifferent from one of many floating ice cabinets in Antarctica in July. Its quantity is twice that of Lake Erie.

“I was shocked, because we flew over the iceberg itself and it looks like it’s still part of the ice shelf, in terms of how large it is and the surface texture,” Nathan Kurtz, a scientist with the NASA-led initiative Operation Icebridge that traveled to Antarctica close to the top of October to get a better have a look at the iceberg, instructed The Post’s Marwa Eltagouri and Chris Mooney.

The area company shared photographs from the expedition on Twitter:

From yesterday’s #IceBridge flight: Looking out from the ocean ice to iceberg A68, which calved from Antarctica’s Larson C ice shelf in July

— NASA ICE (@NASA_ICE) November 1, 2017

From yesterday’s #IceBridge flight: The fringe of Larsen C Ice Shelf with the western fringe of iceberg A68 within the distance

— NASA ICE (@NASA_ICE) November 1, 2017

There is a debate over whether or not the detachment of the iceberg may be attributed in any approach to local weather change, which is among the causes NASA is gathering information.


Softball gamers play close to the Washington Monument in 2013. (Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post)

— Summer softball gamers, take be aware: Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and 6 different lawmakers from Maryland and Virginia have requested the National Park Service to rethink a proposal to ban leisure actions on the grounds of the Washington Monument and improve charges for using fields elsewhere on the Mall and in Rock Creek Park.

The letter comes after the Park Service stated late final week that it needs to completely shut the Washington Monument grounds to leisure actions and improve charges on 28 athletic fields from a flat payment, which was in some circumstances as little as $7 per season, to $70 for a two-hour block.

“We understand that Congress has underfunded NPS over the years, and we are committed to ensuring that NPS’s budget is increased,” the lawmakers wrote, our colleague Michael E. Ruane studies. “Nevertheless, we are dismayed by this proposal, which limits access to the Mall and places enormous financial barriers to recreation …The Founders and the original planners of the District of Columbia always intended the Mall to be a gathering place for public activity — including . . . recreational use.”



  • Roll Call hosts Energy Decoded.
  • The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands holds a legislative listening to on nationwide park, fish and wildlife service payments.
  • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is ready to carry a enterprise badembly to think about reconciliation laws.

Coming Up

  • The Progressive Policy Institute & Common Good host “Rebuilding America: What are we Waiting For?” on Thursday.


Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) described incidents of badual harbadment in Congress at a House Administration Committee listening to, together with one by an unnamed “member who is here now:”

Inside the Twitter messages between Donald Trump Jr. and WikiLeaks:

Fox News’s Shepard Smith debunks Uranium One theories:

Watch Stephen Colbert on Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s testimony earlier than the House Judiciary Committee:

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